Education is crucial to everyone and yet we seem to forget about it and abandon it. Is there any country with a good education system? You tell me.
I read an article in the Irish Times today that asks a simple question, is Ireland’s education system fit for the 21st century?
It was an excellent article but in the name of balance, the journalist never really answered the question. It’s no. In fact, it isn’t even fit for the 20th century.
If we look at subjects in school and the courses in colleges and the jobs being announced there is a huge gap. Nutritional sciences, computer science, gaming, arts, film and broadcasting, aviation, travel & tourism have all led to jobs in Ireland. They are all college courses.
Film is not taught at school yet it is one of the biggest industries in Ireland at the moment. Star Wars, Vikings and Game of Thrones are just some of the major successes that were filmed in Ireland.
Food and agriculture, psychiatry, and others are wedged in as “Science” or social personal health education (SPHE). Politics is “taught” as CSPE. I took CSPE and can’t even remember what it stands for.
Our CSPE had a picture of the Minister for health at the time and asked to name him as well as half a dozen others. All of them let office a year later. That is the definition of a waste of time!
Ireland has mental health issues and if we invest like we need to there will be a drive for therapists, counselors and psychiatrists. Knowing Shakespeare sonnets will be little use to them.
What about Facebook, Google etc? We have them here so surely every classroom in Ireland has a computer? Computer classes are virtually non-existent.
Even if we change what we teach we have to still change how we teach them. Sitting a two-and-a-half hour exam at the end of three years learning is pointless.
Teamwork, communication, using word, excel etc are the basics required going in to college yet for most students college is the first time they have to do any of these things.
We are in a changing world and we have not just started changing, it has been changing for twenty years or so now but we still have largely the same education system. Companies are here in Ireland because our graduates were saved by their universities or because they were innovative themselves or simply for the tax but it is certainly not because our school leavers are the best in the world.
Our education system is not best preparing students for the jobs we have at present never mind future jobs. Educational policy needs to stop preaching at children and instead needs to show them how to think for themselves, solve problems and be creative.
I’m certain education can be and is done better in other countries. Let me know if you are aware of better methods. A good template is a start!
We won’t get out of the next recession because we all learned how fold mountains were formed or what tools were used during the Bronze Age. Surely we can do better than that.